What Type of Damages Can I Seek in a Personal Injury Claim?
In general, a negligence victim can recover compensatory damages and punitive damages in their personal injury claim. There are three types of compensatory damages an accident victim may recover: pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages (and/or loss of earning capacity).
Damages for pain and suffering is the monetary value attributed to the physical pain and discomfort and mental anguish and stress, including the loss of enjoyment of life, that an accident victim suffers as a result of an injury due to another person’s carelessness or negligence. This includes the physical pain resulting from bone fractures, spine injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, cuts, and internal organ injuries, as well as mental distress, anguish, anxiety, depression and embarrassment caused by the incident or accident, disfigurement and permanent scars. If someone dies as a result of another’s negligence, certain of the surviving relatives are entitled to recover damages for their pain and suffering due to the loss of their loved one. The monetary value of pain and suffering damages is subjective, but an experienced attorney can advise a negligence victim as to the approximate amount of pain and suffering damages appropriate for their particular case. Additionally, a negligence victim can recover for the pain and suffering they will experience in the future. Pain and suffering damages are also know as “noneconomic losses.”
Medical bill damages, also referred to as “medical special damages”are the actual medical bills that you incur in connection with treatment for your injuries as well as the medical bills you will incur in the future for ongoing care and treatment related to the injuries.
Lost wages or loss of earning capacity is the value of the income that a victim of negligence loses as a result of their injuries in the accident. A victim may miss work due to pain, doctors’ appointments and therapies, or their injuries may be so severe that they can no longer work at all. A victim may recover these lost wages as well as their wages that they will lose in the future due to their inability to work, or their inability to earn the wage that they earned prior to the accident.
Punitive damages are governed by Florida Statute Section 768.72, which provides that a claim for punitive damages shall not be permitted unless there is a reasonable showing by evidence in the record or proffered by the claimant which would provide a reasonable basis for recovery of such damages. A negligent party may be held liable for punitive damages only if the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that the negligent party was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. In Florida, there are also caps on punitive damages which are governed by Florida Statute Section 768.73.
If the negligence victim’s case also involves the violation of a Florida Statute, the statute itself may provide for additional or alternative penalties or sanctions from the ones outlined above.